Thursday, September 20, 2007

Branding a Law Practice

Case Study: Kenneth Alan Forman PA, Immigration Attorney in North Miami Beach, Florida

Challenge: Re-brand a law practice that has recently expanded and has a vision of national influence.

Idea Wanted: A brand that will increase business from immigrants facing deportation, coupled with an image that carries weight across the entire country.

The Background: Ken Forman, the principal of the practice, has been in operation for more than 18 years and has just added his daughter to the practice. The goal is to expand the business to become the go-to practice defending deportation from immigration courts on a national scale.

His business values: Competence, Honesty, Protection
His Mission: To help immigrants who deserve to be here fight against the immigration courts trying to deport them.

Advice: Think through they eyes of the potential client and think big! Forman's clients are immigrants facing deportation and the firm has the vision of national reach.

To market to this specialized client you have to identify their key concerns and fears. Forman's clients are washed in fear and uncertainty. The objective is to communicate comfort, security and hope.

Our Ideas:

  1. First develop the brand promise and use it as the foundation of all future marketing. We suggest the brand promise: "Safety, Security, Peace of Mind in America."
  2. Next develop a signature that can be used in all future marketing materials. A signature is not a slogan or a tagline, because it is personal and has meaning. We suggest: "Stop Deportation, Stay in America" or "Stop Deportation, Go with Forman"
  3. Brands need key, central visuals to reinforce the brand promise and the signature. Our recommendation for the Forman key visual is a large red, white and blue image of America with the texture of a big brick wall. In the wall their is a door open with a deportation sign above it. The two principals of the practice are blocking the front of the exit with their arms crossed. The signature is underneath the visual.
  4. Change name and use big, important sounding titles. Adding significant staff is the perfect time to change the name of the business, especially if you want to change your target market. Because of Forman's desire to go national, we suggest an authoritative name such as the Forman and Lugo National Immigrant Rights Center, or Forman Immigrants Protection Center. Create initiatives such as the National Initiative to stop unjust deportation and publish a document backing it up.

  5. Get a website. Forman currently has no website. Luckily some their large national competitors have weak websites and it would be easy to make an impact. We suggest a new website with a splash page that contains the key graphic and the signature in multiple languages. Then beneath the key visual, have a "Choose Your Language" option that includes English and the top three languages served by the practice. Don't clutter the website up with confusing options.: make it simple. Publish a document in multiple languages that chronicles a typical time line and lists immigrants rights. Then convert it to a pdf and make it easily downloadable.

  6. Open satellite offices. Forman wants national reach and needs an appearance of national accessibility. Open small "storefront" offices in key immigration court cities like Los Angeles and New York. Staff them with a receptionist or use an answering service to save costs. Use a VOIP Internet phone service and obtain local Los Angeles and New York phone numbers that ring in the North Miami Beach office.
The Lesson:
When branding your business, start with your values and then develop a brand promise that clarifies what you promise to deliver beyond the stuff you happen to sell. After you have your brand promise, develop your signature; a slogan with teeth.

Always develop a vision statement of what you want your business to look like when your mission is completed. If you know what the future will look like, then you can craft your image and a brand that rings true. In Forman's example, you cannot have a vision of influence on a national scale and portray a country lawyer image, or try to maintain a personal brand.

Brand your business in orderly steps, starting with values, a mission, a vision, and then a brand promise. When you do, the big imaging ideas begin to flow more easily.

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